It is commonly considered that those with a latent stigma—that is, features that are undervalued but may be hidden from the public eye—avoid the myriad difficulties and hurdles that people with a visible stigma face. A recent study, on the other hand, shows that even those who are able to hide their stigma face a slew of psychological obstacles and stressors. The ambiguity of numerous social circumstances, along with the possibility of one’s hidden stigma being revealed, puts a person with a concealed stigma in a difficult predicament.
There is a growing body of research on stigmas that might be hidden, which necessitates the integration of relevant findings into a coherent paradigm.
Pachankis (2007) proposes a cognitive-affective-behavioral process paradigm to better understand the psychological signs of stigma concealing. This model offers potential intervention points as well as areas for further study into the efficacy of the proposed paradigm. In this conversation, the topic of transparency plays an important part.
Pachankis gives the example of someone who is HIV-positive but hasn’t told anyone about it and their romantic relationships. Disclosing one’s HIV status gives them a lot of worries and might make them look uncomfortable in social situations. Despite the fact that such a high level of monitoring is not important to their interests, the prospect of revelation creates enormous psychological anxiety.
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